One of the activities in life people seem to identify as satisfying and pleasurable is conversation. I fully share that view. After spending almost two hours in conversation today with one of my church leaders, even if it was spent in talking about ministry, it was deeply satisfying and connecting. There is just something special in two human beings sharing and exchanging ideas. There is something in the listening and reaching out, understanding and interacting that is so deeply human and fulfilling. Not all conversations are like that, of course. Some tend to be confrontational and conflictual, but even in those cases an effort to actively listen and empathise can be satisfying in the end.
It seems that on one hand society is becoming increasingly individualistic and isolational, while on the other there is a craving for human contact and interaction. People talk more about wanting to connect and socialise than they talk about the need for private space. Social networks add to the feeling of connectedness while removing the pleasure of direct personal contact, often making communication skewed and unnatural, creating a kind of fragmented conversation. Perhaps this is an effect of the tension between the private and the social, not to mention the shrinking space in our agendas which we can give to direct human interaction. One thing I know for sure: A Facebook interaction does not compare with a face to face conversation. Nothing compares to looking in a person’s eyes, gauging their body language and tone of voice, the subtle dance of the eyebrows and lips as they respond to what you say and so on. Facebook has its place, but we should never assume it could ever replace human contact.